CURRENT BID: £53,500
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1950 Vincent Black Shadow

Guide Price: £70,000 - £85,000

The Background

The Vincent Black Shadow is widely revered as the all time epitome in motorcycle innovation. Second only in twentieth-century design prowess to the Supermarine Spitfire, it remains to this day a true icon. It’s innovative & record breaking design  was to follow closely in the defiant footsteps of a truly remarkable spate of wartime aviation development so profoundly inspired as to outstrip, & finally overwhelm the German Luftwaffe.  

Beget by two engineers at the Vincent works, Phil Irving and George Brown built  two high spec.  prototypes in secrecy from their managing director who had previously denied them consent for the project.    Completed by February 16th 1948, their test reports were spectacular.   Following road tests by Charles Markham published in ‘Motor Cycling’ magazine reported one bike reaching 122 mph, 11mph faster than the Vincent Rapide.  A change of heart among Vincent’s management soon followed & the production Black Shadow was immediately readied for the following 1948  Earl’s Court Motor Show.

The new high performance bike was a 998cc four-stroke V-twin engine developed directly  from Vincent’s existing ‘Rapide’ model, whilst the name ‘Black Shadow’ was derived  from its contrasting black enamelled engine which maximised heat dissipation.

Officially tested in 1949 by the respected journal ‘Motor Cycle’, the bike  was branded a connoisseur’s machine, with far greater speed and acceleration than any other road machine & with unique and ingenious features of outstanding design.  For engine performance the bike was awarded 99 out of 100 marks: 99  “because nothing, it is said, is perfect”.

The History & Paperwork

This particular Black Shadow has a commanding and distinctive ambience.  More importantly it is one of very few (of the 1774 produced) that has unequivocally conclusive authenticity. 

The evidence of this derives from five unambiguous factory stampings; two original buff log books; the original dealership’s riveted brass plaque, and a host of documentation  including a VOC certificate of authenticity, completion note, works order form and a road-test report which all originate from the archives of the esteemed Vincent Owners Club.

LRH 601 was supplied new by Jordan’s of Hull, a family-run garage that still exists as a Fiat and Alfa Romeo main dealer today. In 1950, it was one of the best-known motorcycle dealers in the north of England and it is Jordan’s that is the inaugural entry on the first of this Vincent Black Shadow’s two buff logbooks. Currently of course the bike also has a V5C in the name of the existing owner.

The Condition

This example has clearly been owned by Vincent aficionados throughout its life and the owner states there is no paperwork to suggest it has had anything more than routine maintenance during that time. 
Overall, the bike presents in excellent and demonstrably useable condition. The black paint on the petrol tank is in fine order and the mudguards are straight and clean. The exhausts are positively gleaming with only slight heat discolouration, whilst the wheel rims remain  unblemished and true. Smaller parts, and the general condition indicate this bike has been spared the bad weather & well garaged  by competent caring owners. There is the odd smear of grease here and there but no oil to be seen anywhere at all. 

The Mechanics

As confirmed by the works order form which can be seen in the gallery, this Black Shadow is standard specification apart from Hoffman bearing and o/s cam followers noted under non-standard engine components. Apart from this, we understand from the owner that the bike starts easily, charges correctly and runs superbly.

The Appeal

There are very few Black Shadows coming to market in such good condition and with such unequivocal authentication.  For a Vincent enthusiast, little more explanation of this bike’s desirability will be required; it is an example any should have in their collection. 

For newcomers to Vincent motorcycles, rest assured that this bike  is not only the genuine article but an unparalleled opportunity to own &  ride a true legend in motorcycling history, the spellbinding Black Shadow.

Notice to bidders

Although every care is taken to ensure this listing is as factual and transparent as possible, all details within the listing are subject to the information provided to us by the seller. Car & Classic does not take responsibility for any information missing from the listing.

As is normal for most auctions, this vehicle is sold as seen, and therefore the Sales of Goods Act 1979 does not apply. All bids are legally binding once placed. Any winning bidder who withdraws from a sale, is subject to our bidders fee charge. Please see our FAQs and T&C's for further information. Viewings of vehicles are encouraged, but entirely at the sellers discretion.
Vehicle specification
  • Year 1950
  • Make Vincent
  • Model Black Shadow
  • Colour Black
  • Mileage 16,383
  • Engine size 998
  • Location Essex
Bidding history
4 bids from 3 bidders
  • Notrots £53,500 23/09/20
  • ptate42•••• £53,000 23/09/20
  • [email protected]•••• £50,500 23/09/20
  • Notrots £50,000 23/09/20

The Gallery

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